Necessary Madness: A Writer on the Road

On Being Foolish

Every act, every decision, over the last two years has been made against a backdrop of first the pandemic and now a war. Five years ago this week, I arrived in Portugal, in Coimbra, for the first time. Although there were several trips back and forth to the states to...

Makeup

My good friend Sara P. told me a story I have never forgotten. During an earthquake relief mission in Guatemala, she sat in a tiny, cramped shelter with a woman who had lost everything. Sara, having little on hand in the moment, opened her purse, found a lipstick, and...

Cocooned

A woman on Instagram in the U.S. wrote she was feeling homesick. All she’d done is sit down at a café on the same block where she lived. I’m planning a trip south in April but struggle to imagine myself at the train station, much less inside a train. It’s been five...

Drowning in Alcohol

It’s our addiction. No, not Portuguese wine or port or fancy liquors. Hand sanitizer. Over the past year, I have become a connoisseur. Ask me anything. I can tell you where to find any kind you long for. I can explain the pros and cons of the sticky gels, the watery...

The Horse Tale

I was twenty-five and living in Manhattan the first time I rode. I’d never even been close to a horse. With nothing more than "wear boots," a blind date took me to the Claremont Stables then located on the Upper West Side. He rode his horse, Kojak, and rented...

Not Here

When I lived in New York, in Manhattan, the morning news would often bring word of an overnight homicide. I would pause to hear where the body had been found, where the shots had been fired, and, once assured the location was, as it often was, down on the lower east...

Zones

I drove! I rented a car in Vilamoura down in the Algarve last week and drove for the first time here! Not having been behind any wheel in well over a year, and having watched Portuguese drivers zip about, I was tentative. But, I thought, if I can drive in New York, I...

Love Us If You Can

Saudade: This Portuguese word specifically expresses the longing that accompanies missing something that has been lost or is out of touch. Saudade is an accurate expression of what I’ve been feeling for the woods I grew up in, wandered in, played in, walked dogs in,...

100 Rejections

After invigorating months of house guests and travel, I turned the page to 2019 with nothing of note written on it. Writer friends were filling their blogs and social media posts with plans, such as finishing a novel or finding an agent. Also, this: accumulating...

Seven Lives and Counting Down

One morning not long ago, I glanced toward my kitchen window to see my cat, Hezekiah, standing on the wrong side. Could it be? Maybe I was mistaken. I wasn’t. There he was. On the other side of the glass, balancing on the blanket I’d flung across the clotheslines...

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